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March 11th, 2015

HOTC submission on the Long Term Plan

Summary of our Submission:

Business Property Rates: We support the ongoing rates equalisation policy and the proposed gradual reduction of business property rates as proposed.

City Centre Targeted Rate: We support the ongoing collection of the City Centre Targeted Rate. Its contribution to the transformation of the City Centre has been dramatic. We note the importance that this is seen as one of the funding streams supporting the transformation rather than the only funding stream for the city centre.

City Centre Upgrade Programme:  We are supportive of the ongoing transformation of the City Centre, and the vision and aspirations set out for the City Centre in the Auckland Plan and the City Centre Masterplan. A number of city centre projects are listed in the LTP.  We have not yet seen a comprehensive programme that takes into consideration the overall aspirations sought for the City Centre, the interdependencies of all projects including transport projects, and importantly how the city will ‘keep moving’ throughout the ten year period of planned construction, including the City Rail Link.  We are therefore unable to provide any detailed commentary on what specific projects we support for implementation, particularly over the next three years. 

Transport Funding and PrioritiesWe support a ten year programme of work that will improve access into the City Centre, across all modes of transport, including road, public transport, cycling and walking. We believe that the ‘Basic Transport Network’ as proposed by Council will not deliver a transport network that will meet the demands of a growing city. However we are not in a position to support the ‘Auckland Plan Transport Network’, and are not convinced that this is an affordable option for Auckland. We challenge Auckland Council and Auckland Transport to review the proposed programme to ensure that the projected growth of the region is catered for in the best possible way over the next ten years, without the need to raise significant additional funding. It is our position that the fairest and most equitable way of raising any additional funding required is by petrol taxes but we ask that this is ‘de-linked’ from an additional rates increase, as currently proposed.

Light Rail: We support the principle to improve the city’s transport infrastructure to allow for increased capacity, reduced environmental impact and increased access, and we have been advocates for the development of ‘enhanced public transport’ options for sometime. We wish to ensure that the most cost effective option with the best flexibility for future growth is chosen and is fully integrated with the existing transport plans for the city.

Waterfront and Port: We request the opportunity to be involved in the development of the terms of reference for the wider, longer term ‘Stage two’ Port study, and that funding and a timeframe for its development is confirmed immediately. We highlight the urgency of the study being completed.  A number of decisions have already been made that are incrementally changing the nature and form of our harbour. It is critical that there is a long term strategic view that guides and informs any further decision making, including the future of Quay Street and the Central Wharves.

Street Trading and Events Charges: We oppose the proposed fee increases for outdoor dining in the City Centre, citing it as inequitable and contrary to meeting Council’s own aspirations for the City Centre. We ask that Council reduce or maintain the outdoor dining rental charges to their current levels.

Public Nuisance Bylaw & Safety:  Safety is one of the single most important areas of concern for HOTCity Members. We are grateful for Auckland Council’s ongoing implementation of the CityWatch Security programme in the City Centre. The team work tirelessly to improve the perceptions of safety, and are responsible for enforcing the Public Safety and Nuisance Bylaw.  Over the summer of 2014/2015 we have seen a significant improvement in the street environment, owing to increased resource being allocated to the programme. This has allowed the CityWatch guards to be present at the most critical times of the day and at hotspot areas. Given the level of public and private investment being made into the City Centre, and the aspirations that we all have for its future, it is vital that this service continues for the foreseeable future. We would encourage that any opportunity to maintain it at the recent "summer levels” across the year, and/or expand or grow the service also be explored.

Our full submission to the Auckland Council Long Term Plan 2015-2025 is available here, and the Regional Land Transport Plan here.

Submissions to both the Long Term Plan, setting our budget priorities for the next ten years, and the Regional Land Transport Plan can be made until 16 March, here.

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